Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life


A rocky night


Thank you so much for the many messages of concern and support that lovely people have sent to me since last night’s 7.5 North Canterbury earthquake.

Just a short note to say that we are safe, and there has been no damage done to our house. I can’t say many of us slept at all well last night! Hopefully tonight will not be too bad on the aftershock front.

Wellington has suffered some damage, but we are fine. Thank goodness the quake struck late at night when most people were safely in bed. It could have been so much worse otherwise…

My thoughts are with the poor people of Kaikoura and North Canterbury generally. There is a big job ahead to rebuild the infrastructure and get things working again down there.




Winding trails for Nepal

We’ve all heard the terrible news of the earthquake in Nepal.  The scenes of destruction are uncomfortably familiar, and heart-rending.  There is great need for help.

I have decided to do something on my part for the people of Nepal.

Winding trails

I finished the pattern for this cowl this week.  I am making it free, but in exchange, I encourage you to donate an appropriate amount to my chosen charity, Global Giving Foundation.  All funds received by Global Giving in this link will go to providing for survivors’ immediate needs for food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter.  Even a small amount will go a long way towards helping provide for immediate needs.

Amended to add: I have since discovered that most aid agencies are taking minimum donations of $10. If this is above your budget level, but you would still like to donate, I suggest buying one of my other patterns – all proceeds from the sale of any of my patterns for the month of April and May will be donated to the Nepal earthquake relief efforts.

I found this article very useful in helping me decide who to choose for donations.

winding trails cowl

This cowl was already called Winding Trails, but somehow it’s even more appropriate, as it calls to mind the winding trails of the Himalayas, and the difficult road that lies ahead for Nepal’s recovery.

Download here.

About this cowl:  This is an advanced beginner level pattern.  It is knitted in the round, using a 12 round, 7 stitch repeat.

You need approx. 200m/218yds of DK/sport weight yarn.   I recommend a yarn with drape, a reasonably smooth texture and round body.  An alpaca/merino, alpaca/silk or merino/silk type will be ideal.  In this sample I have used Outlaw Yarns Vanitas, an alpaca blend, DK weight yarn (100g/200m per ball).

Suggested needle size:  4.5mm.

Finished measurements:  70cm/27.5″ around and 22cm/8.75″ tall.




Earthquakes are not fun.

I know some of you will worry at the latest news (yet more severe earthquakes). So this is just to let you know we are all ok, if very rattled.

Driving in an earthquake is scary.  I had no idea what was happening, but my car was not behaving as it ought!  I pulled over, thinking I had a flat tire, but the car just kept on rocking!  Then I noticed all the people pouring out of their buildings, and realised we had just had another quake.

I need a restorative cup of tea (or two, or three) now.  And maybe a bit of knitting.  Just to calm the nerves.  🙂

Can the ground stop shaking yet?



Well, hello there!

It appears that a month without internet access is a very long time.

Thanks to my mother’s generous bridging finance (that damn tax refund is taking its time) I am today, exactly one month after my old laptop died, the extremely happy owner of a new laptop.  The relief at being able to once again read my emails, news, visit Ravelry, Skype, pay bills and do all the things that we now take for granted in the virtual world is indescribable.

A week ago, I was very kindly gifted my daughter’s “old” android.  Thank you, sweetie.  🙂  (I can afford to buy one, but there was a spare one going, so I thought I might as well not waste it!)  So I have been getting used to the world of touch screens and all things ‘apps’.  The older son has been a reasonably patient tutor in updating the old fogey into the “new way” of doing things. 😉

An android is still not suitable for Ravelry cruising or blog writing or suchlike, but at least I’ve been able to do essential things like get into my sadly neglected in box and find out how much to pay on my bills!

So… what has happened in this last month?  A fair bit.

I have missed you all.  A lot.

I am doing some terribly exciting secret squirrel knitting stuff that I will probably not be able to tell you about for a while, but when I can, I shall.

I also knitted a secret squirrel test knit for a certain person who is about to release a book – you shall see that too in due course!  It is an absolutely incredible design, and I think I can be allowed to tell you now that the book release is so close, that having seen a preview of the designs in the book, I believe Audry has put together a collection of not only beautiful, but interesting to knit, playful to wear and very well written patterns.  I expect The Book to be a winner!

I have been knitting a lot of lace shawl.  I’m on to the edging now.  It’s “meganormous” and I love, love, love it and am so proud of myself at being able to knit a lace shawl without stuffing it up.  Will show you as soon as I get some pictures loaded on to my lovely new laptop.  It’s a simple design, but one has to start somewhere.  The yarn is a new alpaca/silk blend released by Flagstaff Alpacas.  It complements the shawl very well.

I have a sock design that’s nearly finished.

We had an earthquake.  Most of you will know about it.  It was not fun, even though Wellington was extremely lucky not to have suffered serious damage or injury.  The ground is still rattling.  We’ve had over 1,300 aftershocks since the first one, although most of them are so slight you don’t notice them apart from wondering whether you’re living on a boat or on land (I might be overly sensitive, but that’s the way it feels to me!)

The thing about an earthquake (which I am sure those who went through the Christchurch quakes will sympathise with) is that it makes you jump at every loud noise afterwards, and every rumble or thud sets your heart racing and makes you tense for another “big one”.

Spring appears to have decided to arrive early.  I probably say this every year, but I’d quite like the sun to not shine so brightly, and the trees to just go back to sleep again for a few more weeks, and the temperature to stop going up for a little bit longer please.  It’s almost time to think about knitting that lacey summer cardigan or sweater I keep talking about but never get done.  Maybe this year it will happen. 🙂

That’s about it in a nutshell.  

It’s time to potter off and cook some supper and get the fire going for the evening.

I’ll be back soon with some pretty pictures of finished objects for you to see!!


A way to help

The situation in Japan is horrific beyond belief.  The military action in Libya does not bear thinking about.  And the people of Christchurch are still suffering.

I am by nature a very private person.  I don’t (except where knitting is concerned) usually think that my opinions are something that others may want to know about.  The awful events of late have upset me just like everyone else.  But because I don’t have an immediate, personal connection to them, I feel uncomfortable reminding my readers of what they already know, and care deeply about.

However, my sister sent me this link today:  Get Knitting NZ!  What a great, proactive way for the knitting community to get involved and help contribute to the Christchurch earthquake relief efforts!

Basically, it’s this:  knit a scarf of between 1.5 – 1.8m in length using yarn you already have, take it to Glassons, and they’ll sell it for $25.  ALL the proceeds go to the Christchurch earthquake relief efforts.

I like the concept:  Not only are you providing the means for a financial donation through giving your knitting, but someone will also benefit as the recipient of a nice, warm, snuggly scarf, knitted with love.

For an easy scarf, get a pair of 5mm needles, some DK (8 ply) yarn, cast on between 36 – 40 stitches (depending on how wide you want it), and *K2, P2* to the end of the row.  On the reverse side, k the knit stitches and p the purls.  It’s a basic pattern, but it will produce a tasteful scarf that can be worn by both men and women.  You could put stripes through it to ring the changes.

Another easy alternative in double-moss stitch:

Cast on 36 – 40 stitches.

row 1:  *K2, P2* to end of row.

rows 2 & 4:  work each stitch as it appears on this side of the work (k and knits and p the purls)

row 3:  *P2, K2* to end of row

Repeat these four rows until the scarf is long enough.

For a chunky yarn (12 – 14 ply), I’d use 7mm needles and cast on 28 stitches.

There are also over 6,000 free scarf patterns on Ravelry to choose from.  I’m sure their creators would not mind a scarf knitted from one of their patterns to contribute to a good cause?

The Christchurch earthquake relief colours are red and black, but you could knit in any colour.

With it becoming winter in New Zealand, I’m sure these scarves will be well received. Kudos to Glassons for coming up with this good idea.

I’ll be making one (or two).  Possibly in possum, to maximise the feel-good factor.